Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Knot Little Books of Big Wedding Ideas by Carley Roney and the Editors of TheKnot.com

Okay, I've been married to my wonderful man for 22 years and our kiddos are in their early teens.  So what would ever possess me to request  The Knot Little Books of Big Wedding Ideas by Carley Roney and the Editors of TheKnot.com to review?  Well... I am female... and don't we all love a good wedding?!

First of all, this set of books is small.  You could easily slip a book or two into your purse to take to an appointment with your florist, cake designer, or the like.  But what they lack in size is made up for in the great information included in each of the four books.

Book 1:  Cakes.  Great information about selecting a baker, cake design, and type of cake for your wedding venue/time of year.  This book is filled with lots of beautiful pictures to get the creative juices flowing.  Also, I appreciated the idea to ask each baker to give a price per slice so you could easily compare price between your top candidates.

Book 2: Bouquets & Centerpieces.  This section starts with questions for your florist, common sense information about budget, size and height considerations for centerpieces, appropriate bouquets based on the bride's stature as well as venue and time of year.  Beautiful pictures abound.

Book 3: Stationery, Decor, and Favors.  Although this section is filled with beautiful pictures and some ideas for inexpensive invitations, I found this section to be the least helpful for a bride on a smaller budget.

Book 4:  Vows, Readings, and Toasts.  My favorite of all the little books, this one is filled with all types of vows (depending on religious beliefs).  Also were some fabulous readings, some of which brought tears to my eyes as I read them.  The happy couple could easily use ideas directly from the book or use them as a launching point for their own.

I thoroughly enjoyed these books and know that I will use some of the information for other special events as well.  I must admit, though, that I have not read other wedding planning books recently and would recommend that this is just one resource for information, and not your only one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate By Leslie Leyland Fields and Dr. Jill Hubbard

When I first saw the title of this book, my first thought was, "No!  I don't want to read another book that can't heal my relationship with my parents!"  ...But regardless of my initial reaction, I felt compelled to read this book.

As the title implies, this book is about forgiveness, but not necessarily reconciliation. The author shares the story of her relationship with her schizoid father, how he hurt her and her siblings, and how each of them chose to forgive him, and what that looked like in practice.  Mrs. Fields also shares Biblical and contemporary cases where others have chosen to not allow the bitterness of unforgiveness to negatively impact their relationships with others.

Forgiveness, on any level, is mirroring God's forgiveness.  It does not require anything from the offending party.  We may never receive the love and acceptance from a parent that we are longing for, and if we continue to focus on that, we may damage of stifle the relationships we have or could have.

Although the author and others shared their stories of forgiveness, the book still encourages healthy boundaries.

For me, this was time well spent.  It affirmed the direction I was going and showed me a new perspective as well.  I think the biggest "take-away" for me was that honoring your parent(s) may just come in the form of living a productive and God-fearing life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Without You, There is No Us" by Suki Kim

"Without You, There is No Us" by Suki Kim is a unique glimpse into the lives of the North Korean people, specifically the sons of the North Korean elite.

Ms. Kim, who is an American citizen born in South Korea, was allowed to teach English to a select group of young men at a university in Pyongyang from July through December of 2011.  Although these young men came from elite families in North Korea, they proudly went without good, nourishing food and adequate warm clothes as a testimony of their loyalty to the "Party" and to the Great Leader.

While there, Ms. Kim was carefully monitored and was only allowed to speak about certain topics.  All of her lesson plans had to be pre-approved.  Her personal use of CD's or books was extremely limited as the government feared these items may be passed on to a North Korean citizen.  All television, intranet (their internet), reading materials, etc. were controlled by the Party to limit the peoples' exposure to the outside world.  They also constantly listened to nationalist music, and were subjected to billboards, murals, etc. that depicted their "Great Leader" as a god.

I found this book to be one I could not put down.  I was so saddened by the extremes a government will go to, to control its people, and it would be difficult for me to accept that communism is good for anyone other than the people in control.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.